1st Person POV in Writing – Remove “I”s and Eyes

I came across this gem: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/most-common-mistakes-series-is-your-2/ and my perspective on 1st Person point-of-view changed for the better. 

As we know, 1st Person involves heavy use of the word “I”, as well as a deeper understanding into the main character. Many people dislike 1st Person narrative, because it can feel like the reader is being bogged down with description rather than action. The temptation to explain everything results in readers knowing practically everything and not being given the chance to solve some mysteries, which is a point K.M. Weiland makes in her post.

Personally, I feel that, when done correctly, 1st Person can swallow the reader whole. We can immerse ourselves in the story.

Writing in 1st Person inevitably produces commentary, because you’re putting yourself in the character’s shoes. Sure, you have private thoughts, but you don’t mentally narrate backstory or exposition; you’re experiencing the moment. This doesn’t make you a bad writer if you recognise this during your drafts. Instead of being the centre of scenes, 1st person narrators should be the witnesses. The purpose of 1st Person is to become the character, whereas with 3rd Person it is to follow them. 

A way to do that is to remove the eyes. Your character is already “seeing”, so there’s no need to emphasise that the character has eyes. Imagine a line where the reader is standing at the back, next is the point-of-view character, then the eyes, and finally the action. For example: instead of saying ‘I could see the sun dipping below the horizon’ (or a better example than that!), use ‘The sun dipped below the horizon’ and just leave it at that. Highlighting that the character has vision is just surplus and bogs the writing down. We already know the character is spectating this, because they’re relating it to us: the reader.

 

Featured Image by George Hodan

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thirdeyeavaaz

Bookworm, Film/TV consumer, polyglot aspirant with an eye on social issues.

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